JOHN: Recruiting review for the casual reader

If you are one of those folks who reads the front page and message boards several times a day, you will probably not learn much new with this. But we have gotten requests to summarize the recent recruiting activity for those more casual readers who surf once or twice a week. 

Recruiting update for the casual reader: 

If you are one of those folks who reads the front page and message boards several times a day, you will probably not learn much new with this. But we have gotten requests to summarize the recent recruiting activity for those more casual readers who surf once or twice a week. 

So, I thought I’d separate what we think we know from what is more speculative by nature and update you on the week’s activity from my perspective with regard to basketball recruiting updates from the FY05 class, where apparently Kentucky is working hard to obtain a front line replacement for recently departed Chuck Hayes. 

What we believe we know:
The hottest items surround Rekalin Sims, the JUCO power forward who visited Kentucky recently and Uche Echefu. From all accounts the recent visit with Sims went extremely well. It appears Sims loved his trip and time with the players and staff and quotes from Sims by both Dave Telep and Jim Tirey indicate that Sims was very encouraged by what the staff said to him. 

What remains unclear is whether Sims was actually offered a scholarship to play at UK or not.  Sims himself fell short of saying that he was actually offered a scholarship but indicated the staff was making strong indications that he would fit in well.  One other factor is that Sims had committed taking a visit to Texas A&M, a commitment his coach says he intends to keep soon, perhaps next week. Sims’ coach also told Telep that the Kentucky staff was putting no pressure on him. 

Sims, his coach, and the Kentucky staff plan to communicate after his visit to Texas A&M. 

If UK indeed fell short of making an offer it may be because they are waiting to see how a potential visit with Uche Echefu goes.  One of the top remaining players in the FY05 class, the power forward Echefu will be in Kentucky playing in the Derby Classic and Dave Telep’s sources a visit will coincide. Echefu likes UK by all indications but has perhaps been recruited longer and harder by other schools, with powerhouse North Carolina among them. Some believe that North Carolina is the front runner. Some recruiting experts believe that Echefu is more enamored with Carolina's academics, which some believe will play a factor in this recruitment. 

Florida State also made the cut when Uche recently trimmed his list to four schools, UK, UNC, Maryland and Florida State are the four schools remaining on his list. 

What we are hearing:
Some knowledgeable insiders believe that Sims is all but a lock to join the team and that Echefu’s visit resulting in a commitment is less of a sure thing.  Others believe that UK very much wants Echefu and Sims, which carries its own challenges because officially UK has but one scholarship to offer.  The fact that UK is one of only four schools remaining on his list, and that the Cats have a visit scheduled can only be considered a positive. Echefu also has a visit scheduled with the North Carolina staff on April 20.  Another factor is that Echefu indicated to KSR's Ryan Lemond that he wanted to make his decision by the end of April or the first part of May. Right now there are only two schools with visits scheduled, with not a lot of time remaining in that window. This could further bode well for the Cats.

Rumors buzzing around the net that, if ever realized could free up a scholarship, surround center Shagari Alleyne and Randolph Morris. Some folks believed that Shagari may likely leave the team. Others believe Morris is considering throwing his name in the hat for the NBA.  Both rumors, as far as we know at Kentucky Sports Report, are unsubstantiated with fact and our official position until otherwise indicated, is that both players will be on Kentucky’s roster in the fall. The media relations department at Kentucky said that Shagari was on campus, attending school and remains with the team. This was the strongest signal yet that Alleyne  will be part of the team in the fall.

Randolph Morris potentially declaring eligibility for the NBA is a rumor that may have started with a quote attributed to him where he said he "hoped" to be with the team next year, fueling some speculation that another plan may at least be considered. At this point, there is are no solid indications that Morris is considering such a possibility. Until otherwise indicated, KSR also assumes that Morris will remain with the team.


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